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Capacity to conduct research and development including the ability to predict impacts on forests of possible climate change

Description: 

"Capacity to conduct and apply research and development to the problem of predicting climate change impacts involves the development of a good understanding of the impacts of climate change on forests and their disturbances such as pests and fire, the ability to quantify those effects on forest productivity, plant and animal species range shifts, carbon sequestration, water yield, forest health and changes in stand structure, and the ability to integrate impacts across the atmospheric, ecological, and economic systems. Improved understanding of climate change impacts
will increase the capability to make better informed and earlier climate change mitigating actions, thus improving the likelihood that forests will be managed
on a sustainable basis." USDA Forest Service (2004)

Rationale: 

The correct wording for this indicator is: "Capacity to conduct and apply research and development aimed at improving forest management and delivery of forest goods and services, including the ability to predict impacts on forests of possible climate change"

"The ability to predict impacts of climate change is required to ensure that long-term sustainability objectives are met." Commonwealth of Australia (2003)

Methods: 

"Improved modeling capability, and hardware and software technology, have increased the use of plot level forest inventory, soils, and land use data as realistic inputs to climate change impact models. This capacity enables a closer examination of the
forest’s current capacity to store carbon, as well as to produce wood products. Forest production studies have been enhanced by ecological research examining the nature of forest ecosystem processes as affected by climate, increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, and nutrient cycling." USDA Forest Service (2004)

Use: 

Montreal Process
Commonwealth of Australia
USDA Forest Service

Uncertainties/Research Needs: 

"Australia has a well-developed climate forecasting and modeling capacity and can forecast potential future climates for different regions of the country based on current scientific understanding (refer to indicator 3.1.a). However, few studies have been done on the possible impacts of predicted climate changes on forests. Further research is required on the impacts of climate change on the distribution of major tree species, forest ecosystems and fire regimes." Commonwealth of Australia (2003)

"Better data and knowledge on how climate affects disturbances and how forests
respond to them would improve our modeling capability. There is a need to better analyze forest practices and community need to adapt to climate change. For
example, integrated models of land use and climate are needed to project the interactions of these two influences on biodiversity at local and regional scales.
Continued evaluation of climate change impacts is needed on a wide range of forest goods and services including water supply, carbon storage, non-wood forest products, timber, and recreation." USDA Forest Service (2004)

Reports: 

USDA Forest Service: National Report on Sustainable Forests (2004)
Australia's State of the Forests Report-2003